American Missionary Killed By Protected Tribe Paid Rs 25,000 To Reach 'Forbidden' Island
An American Christian missionary was killed by a protected hunter-gatherer tribe in one of the islands in remote Andaman and Nicobar chain, police officials informed on Wednesday, November 21. Reportedly, he was on the island to preach Christianity to the Sentinelese people, who are among the last ‘uncontacted’ people in the world.
The North Sentinel Island is off limits to visitors from the outside world. It is the home to the indigenous Sentinelese tribe. The tribe is an endangered community with a population of around 40 (2011 Census Data) and are known to resist contact with the outside world.
What had happened?
The victim has been identified as 27-year-old John Allen Chau, who was illegally taken to the protected islands by fishermen, officials told the media. The police in the island have reportedly arrested the fishermen who took Chau to the south end of the island. Deepak Yadav, a police officer in the island chain told in a statement that police have launched an investigation.
NDTV reported the fishermen as saying to the police that they last saw Chau on November 16, being attacked by bows and arrows. The tribal people then dragged him to the beach and after some time, as the fishermen were sailing away, they saw Chau’s body half buried in the sand.
Aided by the fishermen, Chau hired a fishing dingy and went towards the island. He reportedly left it midway and then transferred to a canoe to reach. A source told AFP, “He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribals tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body. They were scared and fled but returned next morning to find his body on the seashore,” reported NDTV. Chau had paid a sum of Rs 25,000 to the fishermen who ferried him to the obscure island.
What he wrote in his journal
Chau reportedly chronicled his last days at the island in a journal, which was left in the canoe. According to the journal, which has been shared by his family to the media, Chau wrote, “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people.” “Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed,” he had written, reported The News Minute.
“I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you,’” Chau wrote, He also attempted to sing prayer songs and speak their language even as Chau understood that the tribals were enraged by his presence.
The fishermen, after reaching Port Blair, narrated the incident to Chau’s friend Alex, who is also a preacher. Alex then informed Chau’s family in the USA, who immediately contacted the US embassy in India for help. Reportedly, Chau had visited the islands several times over the last few years. Chau, like Alex, was also a preacher and was reportedly interested in converting the Sentinelese community members.
Chau’s family released a statement on Chau’s Instagram profile saying:
A restricted island
Authorities have launched a helicopter search to look for the body, however, they are unable to land at the island as the Sentinelese people are known to turn hostile. Reportedly, only people with high-level access can enter the protected island which also houses defence forces with sensitive installations.
Andaman & Nicobar Director General of Police (DGP) Dependra Pathak released a statement saying, “Access to the North Sentinel Island and its buffer zone is strictly restricted under Protection of Aboriginal Tribe (Regulation)-1956 and Regulations under the Indian Forest Act-1927. The Ministry of Home Affairs, through its recent circulars, also restricts the movement of foreigners in these areas,” reported NDTV.